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Australian school dental scheme

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The Minister for Health, Dr D. H .' Everingham, said today he .' '

saw the free School Dental Service as potentially one of the most

important achievements in public health in Australia. "

Dr Eve ring ham. was. commenting on progress already made in

introducing the scheme, which is aimed at providing free dental :

care for a ll.primary school children in Australia by 1980. ■

He said the Australian Government expected to approve grants ' ■ ■ · · ' ■ · '

to the States totalling about million during the current financial·4

year as the free School Dental Service got under way.

The money would be used to pay· for the first of a number of -...'V-g

new training schools.^fpr.-dental therapists and for the development^:^

and operation of clinics and field services. . . · Έ .

"Dental disease is one of the greatest single public health . . · .

problems in Australia, contributing greatly to the health bill of . . . . . .

Australians", Dr Everingham said. , . . .

"Today it is unusual to find a child in Australia who does not

need dental treatment and since the effects of dental disease are. ....

usually irreversible, it is imperative that there be .a noncentrat.i ,n

of dental care on children.

"The Australian School Dental Scheme wil l ultima tely lead to .an

improvement in the dental health of the whole community through

dental treatment, prevention and greater community awareness of the

need for dental care" , he said. .

Dr Everingham said that the Department of Health had established


a new Dental Services Branch to develop the Australian. School

Dental Service. Proposals had already been approved for new. training

schools in some states and he was considering projects for other


He said that when the training scheme had been fully developed

in 1978 or 1979) there would be some fourteen schools in Australia

capable of training between five and six hundred dental therapists

each year. -

In 1972, forty seven dental therapy students began training .

in Australia. The figure for this year is seventy and in 197*+

there.will be 220 students doing the first of their two years of


In 197*+ all States, except Victoria, will be training dental '

therapists. Victorian training facilities will be in operation

in 1975. .

Some Australian student dental therapists are being trained in

New Zealand schools. Twenty six trainees began their two year course

in New_Zealand early in the year and a further twenty seven left on

September 4 to train at Christchurch and Wellington.

. Dr Everingham said that while emphasis in the early years would

be on planning and training, it was hoped that by 1980 there would bo

sufficient clinics and therapists to enable the national scheme to

cover all primary school children in Australia. .

■'■'he scheme would then be extended to cover secondary school

children under 15 years of age.

Canberra, October 7> 1973· . Dept. iio. 69